Thursday, 28 December 2017

A Difficult Year

2017 has been very not great.

There were the two failed driving tests, tests 3 & 4, which were probably worse than tests 1 & 2.

I sliced through my finger cutting a bread roll, managing to sever the tendon, nerve and artery. I had surgery, and six weeks off work. My finger is still numb and doesn't completely straighten.

My father has become a conspiracy theorist.

We didn't get pregnant for the whole year. This may have fulfilled the criteria for "please, no more miscarriages" but no, thank you. This was more annoying somehow.

My husband struggled with his new job role. The one we were so excited to get. Then he broke his foot, spent 8 weeks recovering, and still hasn't really regained full mobility.

We all fell in love with a dog, and then were told that we couldn't adopt her after all.

My father in law was diagnosed with aggressive throat cancer.

A good and wonderful friend died, suddenly, unexpectedly, and through no fault of his own.

It's been a tough year - and so many things all together, all at once, testing us, I suppose.

But 2018 appears to be on the up. Some little things which have happened in December just seem to be hinting that we might be doing okay after all.

First, we found a new flat which we love, which is available, in our budget and in a perfect location. There was some uncertainty over the financing but in the end we got it - signed and paid, it's ours.

Father in law got the all-clear, almost miraculously fast. God bless the NHS. Unfortunately nobody can convince him to stop chain smoking.

We have a budget which should work for us. Working to make that more manageable and get on with our lives without panicking about money.

And then this. Just a little piece of hope. Our first step. We don't normally get far, so we're trying hard not to get to attached to this idea, but oh, I hope so, and so far the signs are good. I've never had such a strong line before, and certainly not so early. Every day since then I've been sick and tired. I haven't had any bleeding. We have an appointment tomorrow which should hopefully clarify status, after which we may tell family, but for now it's our family secret and hope into 2018.

Happy new year, everyone.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017


Tonight is the school Elternabend. I have suffered through one of these tortures before and I'm not really looking forward to doing so again.

Unlike a parent's evening (which is the literal translation), the Elternabend is less of a short, arranged meeting with your child's teacher or teachers, and more of an extended lesson in German and patience, as all of the parents gather in the classroom (on tiny little chairs) in order to listen to the teacher speak about her planned curriculum, behaviour management policy, and probably other mysterious things that I didn't understand, which the parents are invited to discuss and give feedback on. For several hours. Yes, literally, several hours. I dread to think of how long it went on last time as I left after three hours in a fit of stress/exhaustion tears, and was too embarrassed to even attempt to show my face at a new one.

But I asked my friends for advice and I decided to pull up my big girl pants and try again. With a friend for backup. Who speaks German. I think it will be okay - I just need to remember to ask for help when I need it.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

To Autumn

Today is the last day of the summer holidays.

We decided to go to a folk festival in our town where my friend was running a clogging workshop. It was peaceful walking around a German town at 10 am in a Sunday. As usual though we got there a little too late, missed the start and my 8 year old, full of preteen self consciousness, wouldn't even consider going up onto the stage and joining in. So we watched for a while, looked around some stalls, where I indulged a fleeting whim for crystals an then decided to investigate and see if we could find the cat café which is rumoured to be opening soon. We found it, or at least we found a half finished closed café with cats looking curiously out at us but it looks as though the business owners underestimated costs or that it's taking longer than planned. I hope they do open at some point.

Tomorrow is a new year, a new classroom, halfway through Grundschule which is alarming in itself. I can feel him growing up every day which I love but it's sad that this time is tinged with the constant ache of 'When will I be pregnant again?'

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast - Or The Impossible List.

I recently came across the idea of the Impossible List. I like the idea and I want to expand on it a bit here, what I believe it to be about. I linked to College Info Geek's post about it because I like his video, but he has a link to the official page too.

I think it's about writing down ALL of your goals, from those which are easy to those which seem impossible. It's about seeing how your perspective shifts. It's adaptable, which I love. I like the way goals can be broken down into smaller, manageable steps and when they're achieved, they can be expanded to add newer, bigger ones. It's almost a gamification of life, which is quite nice.

Anyway, here's mine.

My Impossible List

Professional Goals

  • Go to and graduate from university 
  • Run a How To Talk workshop online
    • Pick small, private audience (July 2017)
    • Look through the book to establish topics
    • Start discussion thread (abandoned 2017)
    • Finish chapter 1
    • Evaluate helpfulness
  • Run a How To Talk workshop in person
  • Have 20 posts on my parenting blog
  • Teach a parenting course
  • Publish a book
  • Attend an ELT workshop or conference
  • Do a TYLEC
  • Do a DELTA
  • Get one week ahead in lesson planning
  • Have all my folders organised with sections
  • Have a collection of tried and tested lessons which work well
  • Get my transcription ratio down to 1:3

Skills Goals

  • Get my driving licence
    • Take driving lessons (Summer 2016)
    • Try a new driving school
  • Become fluent in German
    • I can communicate and hold basic, stilted conversation (2017)
    • Complete Duolingo tree
    • Complete online German course
    • Take a German course in person
  • Become fluent in a third language
    • Maybe Afrikaans or Dutch
  • Learn to read another script
  • Learn to swim underwater

Financial Goals

  • Make at least €1000 a month
    • €520ish (Jan 2017)
  • Finish paying off driving lessons
  • Get a month ahead in budgeting
  • Save €5000

Family Goals

  • Raise a family pet
  • Train a dog using positive methods
  • Have my husband adopt my son
    • Contact a solicitor
  • Complete a Love Languages for Kids challenge
  • Have two children close together
  • Read all the Harry Potter books with my son
    • Philosopher's Stone
    • Chamber of Secrets
  • Teach son to swim
  • Hold a family Achievement Goal Weekend

Creative Goals

  • Display my own photography
  • Play guitar at a party with friends
  • Be able to play 5 songs from memory
  • Learn to fingerpick
  • Learn how to play Spanish guitar
  • Make more than 10 blog posts in 2017
    • I made 8!
  • Make more than 15 blog posts in 2018

Lifestyle Goals

  • Complete The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
  • Develop my wardrobe/sense of style
  • Have a harmoniously decorated home
  • Live somewhere with outdoor space
    • Coming February 2018!
  • Live in a house
  • Own a house
  • Overcome fear of injections
  • Get my ears pierced
  • Donate blood
  • Travel to a country which requires extra vaccinations
  • Get to a point where I feel my ADHD is manageable
  • Help reduce male violence/domestic violence
  • Help reduce financial inequality
  • Visit America
  • See the Harry Potter Studio Tour
  • Meet J. K. Rowling

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

How to get up in the morning and not hate life

I am not a morning person. I don't think I will ever be. But I've recently changed my story about what getting up is or should mean and I think it's made it easier.

I used to think that most people (or morning people, if you like) just got up easily and sprung out of bed feeling refreshed and not wanting to sleep any more, and I spent a long time trying and waiting for that to happen to me. It never did, so I concluded that perhaps I was just shit at getting up or I wasn't a morning person or whatever that meant, and that was okay, but it did mean that for a long time my story about getting up was "Nobody has as hard a time as me and/or enjoys falling back to sleep as much as me, therefore I have it harder than everyone else and I should get a free pass."

It wasn't really a conscious thing, I don't think I was genuinely assuming that I was unique and special in hating mornings or loving to snooze, but by believing that it was particularly hard for me allowed me to keep making excuses and keep letting it be hard while also being annoyed at myself for finding such a simple and common task hard. I don't remember where I first came across the idea that getting up just actually is an awful sensation for most people, it could have been reddit, or it could have been College Info Geek, but anyway, I read somewhere that snoozing is counterproductive specifically because waking up from sleep is the hard part. Now, I'd read lots of times, as I'm sure you have, that snoozing is bad, but it never really seemed to make sense before until I read this. When you wake up from sleep you've done the hard part. Why would you then repeat that by snoozing and forcing yourself to go through that again? I do know why - it's because falling back to sleep is just so absolutely delicious and doesn't feel the same when you're meant to be doing it e.g. at night. So I now have the following morning routine:

Alarm goes off exactly 18 minutes before I need to be up. It starts very quietly, almost imperceptibly, and slowly gets louder. There's nothing alarming about it, no vibration, no sudden sound.

I'm allowed ONE free pass, one glorious moment where I can hit the default snooze (10 minutes) and slide back into that creamy, soft, warm sleep. I stand by that. It works for me. Snoozing isn't the enemy as long as you're in control.

Next alarm, snooze, more conscious, 5 minutes. This is where the hard part starts but I'm allowed a little fail on this one - I try to keep my eyes open and look at my phone. Sometimes something interesting enough will be happening in the world to engage me, but mostly sleep wins.

Lastly my final alarm goes off and - this is crucial - I cannot turn this one off without getting out of bed and carrying my phone to the bathroom (it's barcode deactivated - lots of free apps do this), and from there I do all that morning stuff - toilet and teeth and face and hands. I hate this. I cannot describe to you how horrible and arduous it seems. But by the time I've finished brushing my teeth something miraculous has happened, it turns out that I've done the hardest part and I don't have to do it again until the next day - as long as I don't let myself go back to bed. But it's done - almost without thinking, without really being awake enough to be aware. And so I can also pat myself on the back for getting through the hard part because I genuinely know that it is hard and that's not some kind of moral failing of mine. I'm managing self-reward now - are you reading this, me from 5, 10 years ago?  There was a time when I really felt that I was incapable of that, but now I realise that I just wasn't admitting to myself that it's okay to find things hard and that hard things really are worth rewarding.

I find these days that snoozing too many times on days I don't need to get up early is less fulfilling or enjoyable than it used to be, perhaps because that one controlled snooze I'm still not a morning person but it is manageable, and all it took was that changing of the story - from "It's too hard, I can't do it, I'm not the right kind of person" to "Yes, it's hard and it's okay that it's hard because I'm going to get over it like this."

I wonder how many other things in my life I need to change the story on.

Monday, 10 July 2017


It's been hot here this week. Husband has injured both feet by taking an ill advised jump and is grumpy about it. I don't know if I posted about cutting my finger? Anyway, I cut my little finger back in March badly enough to require surgery to fix it. I've sort of given up on the recovery because it always seems too hard and like I don't have enough time.

That is somewhat of a theme in my life at the moment.

I've just come back from teaching at the little village school in the hills. Only two more times, and I won't need to go there ever again. It's beautiful, but the kids are exhausting and I've given up even having a plan. I just try not to let them injure each other and if I can engage one or two of them in some learning then it's a win.

I worked out this week that we've successfully timed intercourse in five cycles since the last miscarriage which have not resulted in pregnancy, but I'm okay with that, I think. We have lowish odds anyway, say 10-15% rather than 20-25 so it is just likely that the dice haven't fallen in our favour.

Starting driving lessons again. If the husband can't drive the car, I might as well. Tomorrow he starts physio so it will be interesting to see how that goes.

This was a short update but I'm hoping to get them happening once a week or so.

Sunday, 7 May 2017


As I mentioned in the last post, we've been trying for a baby for a while now. Over a year, actually, which means that since we are young and healthy it's advised that we seek medical assistance with this now. We've actually had two miscarriages in the last year, which I meant to write about, but didn't. I'm okay about that. It's the length of time which is frustrating and disappointing.

Recently we decided since the baby thing isn't going anywhere fast, let's look into getting a dog! We found a lovely mixed breed at the local animal shelter who was lovely and perfect for our family, but she has knee problems, and so wasn't allowed to live with us as we have stairs.

So a couple of weekends ago, we decided to look at some gerbils. We looked at two different tank sizes we'd be happy with, but when the sales assistant went to show us where they were kept, they found that they only had the smaller one, or much more expensive ones in stock. They wouldn't sell us the gerbils with the smaller tank, so we didn't get those either. Today I thought my husband had gone totally mad as he said we could look at cats instead. So off we went to the animal home again, but no, they won't let cats come to us because we're in an apartment. Which is fair, I suppose, but it's disappointing again.

I'm sure our time will come but it's hard being patient and waiting to see when it will be.

Thursday, 4 May 2017


This becomes a theme, when you have ADHD.

As well as being long overdue to update (whistle stop tour: still haven't passed driving, marriage seems... Better? Pretty good but I hope I'm not missing anything, managed to seriously injure finger, also still not pregnant)

My library fines prevent me from using the service.

This morning I'm sitting in my living room missing the tram I need, again - yesterday, I fell asleep and missed every plan I had - today I'll be a few minutes late, no worse.

The plaque on my teeth is building up again because I am not regularly flossing.

It's been over a year and I'm not pregnant.

I keep pushing back my plans to send email to people listing houses - email! This would take zero effort - because I'm too tired.

It's 8.02 and I am only half dressed.

When I shower, sometimes I'm too dirty to get fully clean with one soaping.

The taxes are due.

I haven't chased up whether a friend's borrowed item was returned.

My son's dentist appointment today is the first in 2 years.